11 year old Young Ladrinka had a practice standardized test in school last week and in anticipation the parents received an email from the director with some words in it to the effect of not stressing out the kids about the test and the importance of getting a good night’s sleep before the test and possibly flossing after every meal. I’m not sure because I don’t have time to read every email during Bachelor season.
But I understand the concept of not putting on too much pressure on a child because we all know that the best performances come when people are completely relaxed. That’s why during the Olympics 100 meter race, they wheel beds to the starting line and gently roll the runners out when it’s time to start with a whispered “do your best, I love you!” lobbed at them. Either that or a shot from a starter pistol, I’m hazy on the details.
So as I walked Young Ladrinka to get an Practice Test Day Snack (tm, pending) I shared some wisdom with him.
“Don’t rush,” I said, and also “check your work” and “read the question carefully.”
With that testing trifecta advice, I didn’t see how anything could possibly go wrong.
Later that day, Young Ladrinka told me that the test went pretty well, no bubble trouble to report.
“You might kill me,” he said, which is a fantastic way to start a conversation, if you’re looking for an ice breaker with your boss or something, “but I got one question wrong on purpose.”
“What’s that now?” I asked once the lambs stopped screaming.
“Yeah, there was a question, like who weighs more: an elephant or some other animal that starts with an l and I knew it was an elephant, but the animal that started with the l sounded cooler, so I chose that.”
Fortunately (for Young Ladrinka) we were in a public place, in line at Joe’s, a local coffee shop that I like to go to for an afternoon decaf, even though they never ever have it and talk me into a decaf Americano at only twice the cost.
“What was the animal starting with the l?” I asked. Perhaps it was a Lion, Extra Huge From Having Swallowed an Elephant Whole. Oh please, if that boa could swallow it, so could a lion. Their mouths are very roary.
“I want to know too,” the guy in line behind us asked. He was young and hip looking and obviously impressed with my ability to raise Future Thought Leaders.
“I don’t know,” Young Ladrinka continued to dazzle. “Not a llama.”
“A lemur?” the cute guy asked. “Was it an animal from Madagascar?”
“Yes! A lemur!” Young Ladrinka said as adorable guy and I looked at each other with a sense of accomplishment and caffeine withdrawal.”Wait, no, it wasn’t a lemur.” And just like that we deflated.
“Why would you do this?” I asked. “Why would you…oh, small decaf, please…alright, Americano..why would you pick the wrong answer?”
Young Ladrinka laughed.
“It was just a joke, mom.”
“What was a joke?” I started to tremble. “Your picking the wrong answer or your telling me that you picked the wrong answer?”
“The whole thing,” he said. “They don’t have questions about who weighs more. We’re not studying to be vets.”
Which is a good point.
And good news.
Especially for the animals.